France team to play Italy: Bastareaud returns as France make five changes

France coach Jacques Brunel has made five changes as Les Bleus seek their first win of the NatWest Six Nations when they welcome Italy to the Stade Vélodrome on Friday night.

After disciplinary issues following the defeat to Scotland in Murrayfield, it is a new-look midfield and all change in the back-three also as Brunel seeks a morale-boosting victory.


Geoffrey Doumayrou’s midfield partner this week is Toulon powerhouse Mathieu Bastareaud, while Hugo Bonneval takes over from Geoffrey Palis at full-back.

Three-try Teddy Thomas has been axed, with Benjamin Fall coming in on the right wing, while on the other flank Rémy Grosso gets his first start of the competition.

The final change comes in the pack where Paul Gabrillagues gets the nod in the second row in place of Arthur Iturria.
France team to play Italy: Hugo Bonneval; Benjamin Fall, Mathieu Bastareaud, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Remy Grosso; Lionel Beauxis, Maxime Machenaud; Marco Tauleigne, Yacouba Camara, Wenceslas Lauret; Sebastien Vahaamahina, Paul Gabrillagues; Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: Adrien Pelissie, Dany Priso, Cedate Gomes Sa, Romain Taofifenua, Kelian Galletier, Baptiste Couilloud, Francois Trinh-Duc, Gael Fickou
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